Have finally knuckled down to work on on of the most difficult parts of this project... trying to rebuild the city of Arrakeen - where much of the action in the movie takes place. While the Arrakeen palace and nearby landing field were built as series of minatures/biggatures, and partial sets, the city itself is represented only by a couple of matte paintings.
So, in order to accomplish that I have been creating an entire 3D cityscape that can be viewed from any angle.
Friday, August 21, 2009
(Click on preview for larger image)Continuing on yesterday's blue eye theme, another important character that didn't get the blue eye treatment is the 3rd Stage Guild Navigator (or even the 1st and 2nd stage navigators).
I also don't like the fact that the orange spice gas is more of a dirty brown/tan color so I've whipped up a little animation test where I rotoscoped in the gas and the blue eyes to see how it would all look.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The Atreides worry that with those eyes, Piter would be the perfect assassin - able to pass for one of the native fremen.
However, in the movie - presumably in order to save money on the rotoscoping effect and not confuse the audience as to who the bad guys are - Piter does not have the blue within blue eyes.
I had a quick go in photoshop today at recoloring his eyes to see how he'd look. (Yes, I did muck around with the green wall as well!)
(Click previews for larger image)For the introduction to the planet Caladan in the movie, it starts with a really awesome panning shot of enormous waves crashing against a rugged coastline, before cutting to a really awful model cliff side and totally out of scale waves, before cutting again to show the Castle where the Duke and his family reside.
My vision here, using modern digital compositing techniques, will be to extend the first panning shot, so it continues up the ragged cliffs until the castle is revealed at the top... possibly having the camera close in on the window where paul is sitting, then cutting back tot he interior shot that starts at the window with the rain outside and pans over to see Paul at his desk.
I've included an image of the model, a mock up of what I sort of want it to look lik, a render of the model and a render of the planet Caladan.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
(Click image for large view. Click post heading for animation on youtube)Here is the massive Spacing Guild transport ship. It is so enormous, it dwarfs the huge Atreides Frigates. While most of the model is essential a lightly detailed tube, the mid-section is festooned with mechanical detail. For this I used freely available "greeble" & "nurny" detail models - usually only on two sides of the model to keep the polygon count low while rendering.
The main part of the model that is incomplete are the huge golden "doorways" that open into the interior of the Heighliner. I have various refernce pictures, but none of them show the detail clearly, so I have had to do My best to make it look ok... just have to make some "normal maps" to help create the intricate surface patterns and get some better texturing done.
(click images for large view)While essentially fairly simple structures (albeit with some ornate detailing), the alternating cube step areas were difficult to work out as the reference photos were fuzzy and did not show the detail clearly. The purpose of creating this model is to feature it in the new opening sequence where the guild ship lands next to the palace.
A simple set of nested spheres. One for the planet, one for the atmosphere.
No precipitation on Dune, so no clouds (unless they are dust or sand clouds/storms.)
I used the map in the novel to create the texture for the "main" part of the planet (the north pole to 40 degrees). Also managed to find one for the south pole - also to 40 degrees. The region in between is open desert.
My original model had the northern hemisphere map taking up the whole of the northern hemisphere and looked "wrong", so I researched it a bit further and finally took note of the note on the original map.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
I think this was the third model I started on after the Atreides Ornithopter and Frigate.
I ended up drawing all the detailed patterning on it in Adobe Illustrator and importing the line work into Lightwave and using that as the basis of the shapes. In fact, that is a process I have used for much of the detailed work as I find trying to create it directly in Lightwave is a huge hassle.
The steel tent posed a problem in modeling it, since I couldn't make one side and then clone it and taper it all since some of the shapes became distorted.
It was only while I was modeling the tent that I noticed there is a sort of "door" partway up the front face... presumably for aircraft?
I rather like this interesting "bug-like" ornithopter, though I was never impressed by the stubby little wings on it.
This is the incomplete model of the movie 'thopter based on photos of a model kit. As Ron Miller the production artist was kind enough to send Me the blueprints, I will probably be reworking this quite considerably.
The Special Edition version will replace the round globe like "thrusters" at the end of each arm with a modified version that reflect the design established in the Special Edition version of the Atreides 'thopter, though with a distinctly Harkonnen flavor.
I first modeled the 'thopter from the theatrical release using reference photos of a really good model kit that I found on the net.
Once I had made the original one I decided to adapt it into a new "flapping" version.
As I rather like the unique "U" shape of the Harkonnen 'thopter from the movie and because nearly all technologies end up having the same basic geometry (Look at jet airplanes for example... while each manufacturer makes them look different, the same components are all there in roughly the same places), I decided to make the Atreides thopter roughly have that same shape, although in this case its more of a "V" shape.
The wings themselves have been through numerous iterations, but are ultimately a sort of flexible "Spring" in a wing shape, with a section of aircraft wing in the middle for flaps and mounting things like sensors and weapons. The underside of each wing houses a small "foot" that extends when landed to support the tal heavy design.
As in the book, the 'thopter also features small booster rockets - and I am thinking of having some unfold at the back of the central hull for landing purposes.
The landing gear was a pain in the ass to model and rig to work as I have only two or three fuzzy images of what it is supposed to look like.
Spice Harvester I have been working on. It's based upon as many frame captures from the DVD and still images as I could locate and a couple of photos from the ever helpful Ron Miller, who had just sold his small filming model of the spice harvester on ebay. It's interesting to note that the cockpit area on the filming models is quite different between the small and hero scale models. I chose to go with the hero scale shape. Have never been able to find an adequate image that explains how the wheels attach to the body. There are three "arms" on the small models but they are not detailed.
I also noticed that the "arm" the cockpit sits along is mounted on a trackthat leads to a "well" in the main body that is not visible in most of the movie shots. It would appear that the cockpit retracts into this "well" - possibly during transport and also for the crew to enter the main body of the Harvester, so I have rigged that to animate if need be. Also have the wheels rigged so that when the body moves the wheels all rotate at the correct speed.
It's a fairly complicated design with lots of curving, tapered surfaces and intricate surface details that were tricky to model.
This is the older version, as I was able to contact Ron Miller the production artist on the movie, who was kind enough to supply Me with some of the original blueprints and several shots of the original filming models he had in his possession . Having studied those, I can see that I am going to have to make significant changes.